European Union says resumption of Indo-Pak talks beneficial for region

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Brussels, Mar 5: The European Union has welcomed resumption of talks between India and Pakistan, saying it was an indicator of positive approach and a "stable relationship of confidence" between them would be beneficial for the South Asian region.

Lauding visit of Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar to Islamabad, Chairman of the European Parliament Delegation for relations with India Geoffrey Van Orden said steps like enhancing trade and encouraging people-to-people contact will improve Indo-Pak ties and may help achieve something "substantial" for the two countries.

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At the same time, Orden, considered an influential leader, said Pakistan has to do more in combating terrorism in its soil.

"The visit is an indicator that we may get business on track. It is in everybody's interest to have a stable relationship of confidence between Pakistan and India. "It would start with small steps like improved trade and may be a little bit of cross border travel. Some of these sorts of things at a lower level can be built gradually to something more substantial," he said.

Jaishankar met with his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Chaudhary in Islamabad on Tuesday during which they discussed various issues including "concerns and interests" of the two countries. It was the first Foreign Secretary-level meeting since India called off a similar meeting last year after Pakistan's High Commissioner in New Delhi held consultations with Kashmiri separatists.

Asked about India's strong concern over terror infrastructure in Pakistan which was posing threat to regional security, Orden said the menace must be dealt with effectively.

In his meeting with Chaudhary, Jaishankar had raised the issue of terror, including the Mumbai attack case. Noting that ensuring stability in Afghanistan would be a major challenge, Orden said both India and Pakistan have a shared interest in the war-ravaged country and they must contribute positively to its overall welfare. He said enormous progress has been made in Afghanistan in the last few years and Pakistan and India must ensure that the country goes forward in its quest for peace and stability.

"Pakistan and India have a shared interest in stability in Afghanistan. The shared interest in making sure that you have a government there which is democratic and which is trying to take forward all the progress that have been made. "India and Pakistan must make sure that we do not go back on the reverse in Afghanistan," Orden told a group of Indian journalists here.

PTI

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